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Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:

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YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 14, 2008 07:47AM
Hi everyone, ... may I please rant?

Well, as I prepare to head up to Yosemite for another solo b'packing trip in 2 days, I'm again reminded off the extreme danger one faces up there.

Getting mauled by a big ferocious bear? ... nah, ... not really

Getting swept away in some catastropic avalanche? ... oh, no problem ...

Being crushed by a sudden rockslide? Ah, no, not yet ...

Getting lost, only to be found weeks later, half-dead, starved, and dehydrated??? no way, I'm totally prepared!

Getting abducted by strange aliens???? Well, hasn't happened yet ... (though travelling through Stockton very nearly approaches that feeling...)

No, no, no, ... the danger I'm talking about are the maniacal drivers along Tioga Road!!!

Every single time I go the YNP, I have some frightful encounter with some nut speeding along the road ... last year, I was actually driven off the road by a guy in his SUV speeding along coming towards me, because he passed the driver in front off him, (passed, by the way, in a NO PASS ZONE!) and I had to skid off into the embankment ... my car was okay through it all ... can't say the same about my nerves.

$$&%#&%$&%&# .... maybe I'm in a minority, but I dearly hope and wish the Park Patrol NAIL offenders ... nail ALL of them ... and start nailing them as SOON as the road opens up!

I find the speed limit there, frankly, too high already!

Why would anyone want to rumble along that road at any high(er) speed anyhow???

Everytime I get home (in one piece!) from YNP, I promise to contact the NPS and urge them to be even more vigilant with speeders there ... and seems I never completely get off my big fat dufff and do it ....

I do see them every season, up there .. ready and waiting .. and honestly, seems they are pulling some violators over .. YAY NPS!!!! Thank you a Million Times!!!

Maybe the speed limit can get notched down a scosh?

well, just my 2 cents ....

Thanks for listening ...

anvanho
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 14, 2008 08:44AM
I'm with you on the dangerous drivers.

But just like the park service will not do anything about pets on wilderness trails, they also do not do anything about enforcing the use of turnouts. I'm rarely in the park when some guy in a 300 foot long RV (it seems like 300 feet) refuses to use the turnouts and 12 cars build up behind him.

Invariably this causes someone to try to pass in a no-pass zone endangering everyone.

As I was leaving the park via the Crane Flat Hwy 120 entrance on Sunday, an RV led 12 cars to the exit. I even mentioned this to the fee collector and she just gave me the same dumb smile they give when you complain about dogs at Nevada Falls.

The Park Service could really make the Yosemite experience so much nicer for 95% of the visitors if they would enforce some freaking rules.

The law in California used to be that if there were 5 or more vehicles behind you, you had to use the turnouts. I'd like to know if that law still exists. Even more, I'd like to know if the Park Service has ever enforced the use of turnouts. Until they do it regularly, some nuts will try to pass 5 cars in a no-pass zone.

I don't know why the Park service can't mention the use of turnouts to RV drivers when they enter the park. That won't make every one of these gas-guzzling vehicles use the turnouts, but it couldn't hurt.





Bill
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 14, 2008 12:41PM
I've noticed driving habits seem to be deteriorating everywhere; RV's or slow, never-one-mph-over-the-limit-but-lots-of-times-below drivers seldom pull over to let people by, where that used to be fairly standard procedure. The other side is just as bad and probably more dangerous...I call them road bullies...they tailgate even if you're doing over the speed limit, pass and expect the oncoming traffic to get off the road, and just generally drive like the road is theirs, and rules and laws as well as common courtesy are not applicable to them. They often run in packs, I suppose for mutual support (and so they can claim they were just going with traffic...8^). Both types of drivers stand out more in Yosemite because of narrower roads, lower speeds, and the fact that you're supposed to be there for enjoyment, not to race between destinations.

Enforcement would be nice, but there just doesn't seem to be enough people...inside or outside the park...enforcing the rules. I'd venture a guess that increasing fines to considerable amounts would help though. Some people are gamblers, and getting to speed daily for months or years, with the threat of $2-300 in fines, just seems worth it to them. If they knew that 10mph over the limit would cost them $5-10,000, perhaps they'd be in less of a rush. Speeding AND tailgating should double the fine. Why, the LA freeway alone would take care of the whole state budget 8^)

Same with the slowpokes...3 or more cars behind you, consistently below speed limit, pass a safe turnout and it costs you $1000.

There are places outside the US where fines are levied based on income/net worth, so some pushy dude in his Escalade who couldn't care less about a $300 fine might find it to be $20,000...whoops.

It wouldn't hurt to start with park employees and contractors though; I've seen a lot of the above (on the fast end, anyway) from people working in the park, especially when they were building the employee housing at Curry.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 14, 2008 02:02PM
Well avanho I've driven SR-120 each year for decades and have seen my share of impatient drivers but your description is a rather overly dramatic rant. The numbers of considerate drives always outnumber those that are aggressive though one tends to notice the later. I do tend to think one is more apt to see such drivers on SR-120 within the park more often than outside the park for a few simple reasons that also occur in other locations with similar reduced speed limit circumstances.

The speed limit is not 65 mph like on highways outside the park but rather 45 mph to 50 mph. (1) Many urban drivers tend to be impatient drivers with the emotional driving behaviors of 7 year olds. (2) Drivers everywhere tend to disregard speed limits because long long ago the morons that decided what the legal speed limits ought to be erred on the side of the slowest least capable drivers that has made law breakers of everyone. As a result there are some aggressive drivers that always speed as fast as they can get away with. In fact some wear that aggressive attitude as a part of their badge of being macho or badass. Inside the park, the current speed limits are reasonable when one considers safety of animals. (3) Some drivers use SR-120 simply as a summer highway route between the Central Valley and the Owens Valley. Thus have little interest in sight-seeing or stopping along scenic areas. And some of those are so selfish and inconsiderate that they don't care that most others are there to enjoy the park.

Passing areas west of Gin Flat are few and in some areas turny, so it is true that long chains of cars are more likely there. Conversely the highway between Gin Flat and Tioga Pass has a number of locations where faster drivers have an opportunity to pass slower drivers. Thus I usually do not bother accomodating faster drivers beyond the speed limits by either pulling over or speeding up. Instead I expect them to pass at passing zone lanes and will accomodate them by slowing down within such areas to let them easily pass. However if particularly aggressive tail gaters are throwing a fit behind me, I'll likely go out of my way to annoy them. On some days, like weekends and holidays, there is so much traffic that passing may be difficult and if one does bother to pull off and let someone throwing a tantrum get by, they will only end up stacking up behind like cars ahead. Despite the obvious logic of simply chilling and going with the flow in such conditions, one can always expect some slopeheads will continually inflict their aggression on one car after another that they follow. Thus pulling over to let them by only reinforces their stupid behavior. ...David



Post Edited (05-14-08 14:02)



http://www.davidsenesac.com
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 15, 2008 04:04PM
David Senesac wrote:

"...I'll likely go out of my way to annoy them."


So let me get this straight: You are so narcissistic and self-absorbed (redundant yes, but in your case worthy of the redundancy) to pull over your gas-guzzling RV to let 5 cars pass because you can't maintain 15mph going up a grade.

So (in your mind) the driver behind you becomes "aggressive." I'm sure I've been behind you way too many times. Your self-satisfaction to annoy another person is exactly what's wrong with this country. Instead of everyone working together and trying to make the experience a good one for everyone, you would rather annoy someone than politely getting out of the way. It's bad enough that you are wasting the planet's resources 10 times faster than the average park visitor, but now you want to annoy us. Thanks for that.

I DO NOT expect RV drivers to pull over at every turnout, especially if the turnout is too small. But wouldn't it be nice if every 5 miles you could take 20 seconds to let 10-20 people go around you? No, you'd rather go out of your way to annoy them. It is people like you that give all RV owners a bad name. I'm praying for $10 per gallon gas so that there will be fewer like you on the road.

I will end by saying that there are MANY very considerate RV users and I don't mean to paint them all with a broad brush. I see some that are quite courteous. Obviously, David Senesac is not one of them. If he could put his name on the back of his RV, at least we would know we are about to be annoyed. When someone freely admits "I'll likely go out of my way to annoy them", it tells you how self-centered many people are.





Bill
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 14, 2008 04:24PM
David wrote:

"The numbers of considerate drivers always outnumber those that are aggressive though one tends to notice the later."


Yes, I will flatly concede that point ... it's true for sure ... never thought to herald the good, courteus drivers ... I more or less expect it from them.

but, quietly aside, I do give them their deserved kudos ...

Though in all fairness, I have not had many jaw-clenching, death-defying incidents with responsible, conscientious, safety minded drivers up there ... (has anyone?)
avatar Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 14, 2008 09:52PM
Anvanho wrote:

> Though in all fairness, I have not had many jaw-clenching,
> death-defying incidents with responsible, conscientious, safety
> minded drivers up there ... (has anyone?)

I've had a good number of people that went very slow (< 20 on curves) that floored it when I tried to pass. Too bad they never get ticketed for their illegal actions.

avatar Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 14, 2008 05:29PM
The 50 MPH speed limit may be a little low in some places and a little high in others. I don't know of many drivers who believe that going slightly above the speed limit is being reckless, and for the most part I don't see anyone getting tickets for going 55 when the sign says 50. It's easier to justify ticketing the guy going 70. If someone is terrified and has no place to pull over, I'm not going to honk for going 35 because I know it can be tough.

After a campfire program at Grand Teton, our ranger finished with a comment that we should drive 10 MPH under the speed limit at night to reduce the chance of injuring or killing wildlife.

I remember driving to Key West, and noting that the signs on US-1 had a lower speed limit for night driving.

In any case, I noted how skillfully my driver for the Tioga Pass hikers shuttle went into turnouts in order to let smaller vehicles pass. She made the comment that "I know how to use turnouts". I've always wondered why someone driving a large vehicle like an RV doesn't need to get a class B license like with a bus. It's got all the limitations and frankly many of the people I see driving them don't have the requisite knowledge of their limitations.

avatar Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 14, 2008 09:53PM
y_p_w wrote:

> The 50 MPH speed limit may be a little low in some places and a
> little high in others.

It's never more that 45 MPH in the park.

avatar Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 15, 2008 02:17PM
eeek wrote:

> y_p_w wrote:
>
> > The 50 MPH speed limit may be a little low in some places and
> a
> > little high in others.
>
> It's never more that 45 MPH in the park.
>

Sorry. It's been a while, and I've never actually driven on Tioga Road myself. It's always been someone else driving.
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 15, 2008 07:16AM


::::::::::::: "I've had a good number of people that went very slow (< 20 on curves) that floored it when I tried to pass. Too bad they never get ticketed for their illegal actions."


Yeah, whas'sup with that? That's happened to me too! A bit of road ownership issue for some folks maybe?
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 15, 2008 10:21AM
In general, I try to go slow, certainly no faster than the speed limit, and when visibility is poor or there appears to be a significant risk of hitting an animal, slower than the limit. This is a national park, for heaven's sake - it isn't the Indy 500 or the Autobahn, where there's nothing to enjoy but other cars.

I let people go by as often as feasible, if they are in a hurry - but I don't need a point on my driving record or innocent blood on my karma / conscience.





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 15, 2008 04:10PM
eeek >>>"I've had a good number of people that went very slow (< 20 on curves) that floored it when I tried to pass. Too bad they never get ticketed for their illegal actions."

Anvanho >>>"Yeah, whas'sup with that? That's happened to me too! A bit of road ownership issue for some folks maybe?"

Yes some slow moving vehicles indeed do so. It is usually not some large vehicle that is going slow due to size and mass but rather some inexperienced urban mountain driver in an underpowered passenger vehicle. Of course uphills in mountain roads will tend to slow all vehicles down some and that is especially so with heavy or weak engined vehicles. Thus the situation sometimes arises on long uphills where one of these cars is moving up an incline while the driver floors the accelerator all the way. They occasionally glimpse back to see a train of other cars behind them and feel embarrassed but probably for reasons of ignorance of mountain driving ettiquette, their own inconsiderate character, and timid ability to make decisions, don't consider pulling over as an option. For such people I will sometimes honk my horn to give them a clearer message. And sometimes I will do that from several vehicles behind them. Most of the time people only then pull over maybe because they realize those behind them are truly annoyed.

Now most highway sections with extra passing lanes or straight sections with striped passing lanes, have sections that are not steeply uphill or turny so other cars that are behind can accellerate and pass. Thus areas that are level or downhill, often straight, that even slower underpowered vehicles can also drive faster. Well I think what happens is the pea-sized brain in the slow vehicle reaches a passing lane area after being frustrated by their sluggishness going up a hill, and then instead of considerately slowing down so other faster vehicles can pass, tries to regain a bit of respect by also accellerating to show those behind how fast their slowmobile can actually go.

This is most interesting where there is an extra passing lane. Despite flooring it, powerful vehicles will immediately zoom past in a cloud of dust further shrinking pea-brain's manhood. But then near the end of the passing section it is a drag race to let as few as possible additional drivers get past else they might need to change their gender. Imagine Don Knotts with a grimacing determined face, white knucked holding the steering wheel with head bent forward nearly to his windshield urging his vehicle ahead with all his muster as the passing lane closes off back to single lanes. So great to be faster than the 6 cars still behind him!



Post Edited (05-15-08 16:33)



http://www.davidsenesac.com
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 15, 2008 04:25PM
wbmyosemite >>>"So let me get this straight: You are so narcissistic and self-absorbed (redundant yes, but in your case worthy of the redundancy) to pull over your gas-guzzling RV to let 5 cars pass because you can't maintain 15mph going up a grade."

You misunderstood my statement because it was terse. First I have never owned anything but small compact sedans, much less RVs haha. And all my vehicles have had little problem going faster than I needed to if I so desired. Second I tend to drive at or slightly above the speed limit like most other considerate drivers. Thus I might be driving along SR-120 at or slightly above the speed limit. Some impatient bozo tailgates me in order to indicate they want me to speed up or pull over to let them by. Guess what? I simply ignore them. Like most people, I dislike aggressive tailgater's behavior and let them know that. I know it really bothers some drivers of course because they expect most people will speed up just for them. Too bad! When a passing lane does comes up I accomodate them by slowing up on entering such a zone enough for them to pass. And at other times with a pull out I will move into that. In other words I do not immediately go out of my way just because they want to go faster. Now there are some highways outside the park I am familiar with that have long sections without adequate passing zones. In those areas I usually DO accomodate those that want to pass me by simply pulling over towards the curb and waving them past.



Post Edited (05-15-08 16:39)



http://www.davidsenesac.com
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 26, 2008 02:08AM
Hey David,

I re-read my message to you. I musta been off the meds that day! (Even though I don't take any.) I guess my point was that if everyone would be just a little more cooperative and courteous the fun level would go up and the danger level (of driving in the park) would go down.

When I'm in Yosemite it is rare that I'm in a hurry. If I wanted to be in a hurry, I'd stay at work. Slowing down is why I go to Yosemite. So much so that even though I drive a car, I will pull over to let people go around me when I see them behind me. Especially if they are tail-gating. I enjoy the drive through the many miles of the park more knowing that there isn't someone right on my bumper.

I think the Park Service could help a lot if they would give out a simple card at the entrance mentioning the courtesy of using turnouts. I really think a lot of first-timers to the mountains just don't know the etiquette. When they don't, it causes some people to pass in no-passing zones which endangers them and a lot of other people.

But I did want to apologize for the use of "narcissistic, self-absorbed, etc." One of the (many) great things about this particular forum is that it is 99% civil and I don't want to change that.





Bill
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 15, 2008 08:49PM
Gulp ... the whole discussion, which I intiated, has now descended into the old SUV debate.

I should have spoken, as was pointed out to me earlier in the posts, more generously of the many, many drivers that DO drive with courtesy ... that there are only those few exceptions that make Tioga Road .. just to name one place, ... somewhat harrowing.

But I tell yuh ... slow this .. slow that ... big mondo RV ... small hybrid .. whatever ... all that stuff just pales when I spoke of wildly dangerous drivers passing (on a turn, for example!) and barreling onward towards you sheesh .... It just has happened enough times that I went through the trouble to crank up the rant.

I always have to remind my wife and kids that the most dangerous part of my backpacking trip is ALWAYS the drive from the Bay Area to Yosemite.

And I'll probably annoint the trip around those highways that circumvent Stockton as the "cherry on top" ... (#4 ... #99 ... #5 ... is that correct? ... something like that ...) Those interchanges are a piece of work ....


Geez, now I'm really starting to sound like an old cantakerous complainer ....

I need to get out ....

see you when I return

Anvanho
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 16, 2008 07:10PM
And I'll probably annoint the trip around those highways that circumvent Stockton as the "cherry on top" ... (#4 ... #99 ... #5 ... is that correct? ... something like that ...) Those interchanges are a piece of work ....



I take the #4...#99...#120



Post Edited (05-16-08 19:10)
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
May 26, 2008 03:28PM
It can be hard to define where being a courteous driver ends, and where being a pushover for every belligerent driver begins.

Though I usually am not in a hurry in Yosemite, I often don't leave until it's really necessary 8^); so I might be driving on 41 (posted 35) and figuring if I set the speedo at 40, that's a good compromise. I shouldn't be slowing anyone down, and if I run up on someone going a little slower, that's OK, I'll slow down and keep a respectable distance. I'm maybe in a hurry, but it doesn't matter, those are the rules.

Then in the mirror appears a "VUAWBD", or vehicle usually associated with belligerent drivers that has to be doing 50+, headlights blaring, and lands on your bumper. What do you do? You're doing 40, which is already over the speed limit. You know that excessive speed in the parks is responsible for animals getting killed, as well as accidents. Ignore him/her, in hopes that if they pass over the double at 60, a ranger will happen to be coming from the other direction? Pull over, so they can cram their bumper against the next unfortunate soul up the road, and maybe hit an animal in the process? Are you enabling their belligerent behavior by getting out of their way, or are you creating a hazard because they'll try to pass in an unsafe place? It's a lose-lose situation.

I like an empty rear-view mirror also, and I think I'm more likely to pull over for someone behind me, even if I'm already over the speed limit, if they are also courteous and keep back. I may then pull over just so I don't have to worry about slowing someone down; but some pushy bozo on my bumper in that situation is not courteous, and doesn't really deserve courtesy. So do you pull over anyway, or not?





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
Re: YNP::: EXTREME DANGER once again:
July 15, 2008 11:48AM
Before 1961, Tioga Road was a one-lane mining road oiled to keep down the dust. It was steep and winding. The Park had an excellent law: You could only pull a trailer over that road late at night and in the wee hours of the morning. Trailers were the motor homes of those days. Like most RV drivers today, most trailer pullers had no idea how to pull over and let people pass. So the road wasn't that bad during the day. It was slow. If you didn't know how to drive in the mountains, you would be far happier going somewhere else. I was disappointed that the new road opened before I learned to drive.

In the Rockies, we have dozens of old mining roads still open for business. They're four-wheel drive only. Sometimes some hotshot in a sissy soccer mom SUV tries to drive on one. They pop their soft, pillowy P-rated tires. They rip off their running boards. They stop in deep creeks and flood their engines with water. They scratch their lovely paint. Their GPS gimcracks don't know where they are. A few minutes of that and they take their SUV to the mall, where it's at home.

Some of our roads are wonderful teachers. Most SUV drivers put their brakes on for every intersection, every crow they see, and every other random cosmic event. Of course they put their brakes on to go down hills. Monarch Pass on Highway 50 crosses the Rockies at 11,300 feet. People who go down either side of that monster with their brakes on get a serious lesson on the one and only proper way to descend a hill. I've seen clueless and illiterate people try to drive down Pikes Peak with their brakes on, despite the innumerable signs urging them to use low gears. Many of them crash. Most of them are pulled off the road by the brake temperature cop. Once in a while, some stubborn brake pedaler gets a Darwin Award.

The ones who know how to drive tend to be the serious four wheelers. They can get their rigs all the way down Pikes Peak, or over any of the passes, without ever stepping on the brakes. We go for many miles along some our famous bad roads without seeing a discourteous driver. No motor homes. No road hogs. No crazy passing. No speeding. In my Moose Truck -- which is a Suburban that is NOT a soccer mom SUV -- I can go 200 miles or more in the mountains without ever using the brakes. Of course, I pull over for every driver who gets behind me. We're already going slow; it's no big deal to let people pass.

If something bad happens, almost every four wheeler will stop to help. We pulled a Grand Cherokee out of a river one morning. The driver and his lady had spent the night with water up to their windows because they hadn't ascertained the location of the ford before driving into the water. The driver was amazed at the gear I used to pull him out. He wanted to buy it and reward me for helping him. No way. Our help is free. We may need help someday, and hope it is freely given.

I hear that California is plagued with rude four wheelers who often trash their playground. That's shameful.

When we drive on the paved highways, especially in the National Parks, we encounter the same clowns and bullies that you do. No matter. We go slow. We pull over and let others by. We never have tailgaters; nobody tailgates the Moose Truck and its massive box-beam bumpers. If an inconsiderate driver pokes so slowly that he holds us up, we kindly give him a chance to use the next turnout. And the next. A vitriolic blast on the air horns usually sends him into the next turnout -- if not to let people by, then at least to change his drawers.

We've had some frightening encounters with people who have burnt their brakes to a cinder by riding them down hills. But we watch for these bozos and have always managed to get out of their way before they crashed. We know that every trip into the mountains means red lights glowing and the stench of roasted brake pads. That's the way it is.

So. Go slow and drive something so imposing that nobody wants to hit it. The Moose has a prodigious appetite, but I don't mind feeding him. His bulk is effective insurance against belligerent and discourteous drivers.





Doug Parr
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